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Beverly Hills
(310) 659-3100

Mon-Sat:
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Cerritos
(562) 402-1133

Mon-Sat:
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10 am - 7 pm

Huntington Beach
714 847 1700

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Long Beach
(562) 434-0700

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(626) 304-1107

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Sherman Oaks
(818) 817-9393

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(714) 731-7380

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Westwood
(310) 477-5625

Mon-Sat:
11 am - 8 pm
Sun
11 am - 5 pm

Spa day on a budget, L.A.-style

Sandy Banks
April 4, 2009


The next morning I headed to Vinita's Beauty and Threading Studio in Cerritos, where Vinita gave me a perfect eyebrow arch with the ancient Indian art of threading for $10, and in 10 minutes. She owns four shops -- in Cerritos, Tustin, Westwood and Beverly Hills.

"I don't have many Indian customers," she said. "They learn to do this as girls growing up, so they do each other now." Her busiest salon is in Beverly Hills, where women who can no longer afford $50 eyebrow artistes have discovered the economy of threading.

I ended the day in San Gabriel, at Tibetan Herbal Feet Soak on Valley Boulevard, where David gave me a $20 foot massage and lesson in reflexology, mapping my foot-body connection -- rather painfully.

"This your liver; this your kidney; this your lower back," he explained. I struggled to understand his accented English, and felt rude when I kept asking him to repeat. He suggested a back massage, because the lower-back pressure point hurt me so much.

He handled the foot treatment with such authority, I found myself following orders. He directed me to a massage table in a crowded storage area. I was too tense to relax. I should have stopped at the foot massage.

Still, I considered my foray a success. I discovered that for less than the cost of a 50-minute massage in a luxurious private room at Burke Williams, I could find a day of beauty in multicultural L.A. -- minus the fluffy white robe, New Age music and lavender candles. Sure, it took me outside my comfort zone. But no one laughed when I tried to soak my feet in the runoff water at Daengki spa. And Vinita knew I was lying when I said threading didn't hurt; she handed me a tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes.

This was my turn to feel like a stranger, to have my intimate rituals complicated by unfamiliar languages and customs.

But my eyebrows looked great, my feet felt like I was walking on clouds, and my skin was as soft as a baby's bottom.

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